West London NQSW Programme Review

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West London NQSW Programme Review
Introduction
The west London NQSW programme started in May 2010, 37 NQSWs benefitted from this
programme which was based on the following pledge:
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We will provide a structured initial induction
We will provide a core training programme
We will ensure there are structured workplace learning opportunities within your team
We will provide learning sets to ensure you have time for critical reflection of your social
work practice
We will ensure you have protected time for learning within your working week
This review is based upon an analysis of this pledge and if it has been delivered.
NQSW Profile
Participants on the programme predominantly came from front-line services, the numbers of
participants varied from borough to borough. The table below shows a breakdown of the NQSWs
by team type and borough.
Team Name
Children in
Care
Children in
Need
Contact &
Assessment
Disabilities
Family ASSIST
Family Support
& Child
Protection
Family Support
Team
Locality Team
Unknown
YOS
Grand Total
Still in Post –
March 2010
Brent
Harrow
1
Hillingdon
Hounslow
1
LBHF
RBKC
2
Westminster
Grand
Total
1
5
2
2
1
1
1
2
4
2
2
1
1
9
7
2
37
3
4
2
7
2
6
5
3
1
2
3
7
8
4
7
2
2
6
8
4
7
Programme Review
The evaluation team tried to contact all participants at least twice and they were also emailed a
copy of the questionnaire to enable them to return it electronically within their own time. The data
below is based on feedback from 9 NQSWs.
NQSWs were asked to rate their experiences on a scale of 1 -5
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West London NQSW Programme Review
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1 Strongly disagree
5 Strongly agree
A score of 3.1 or higher indicates a positive response
A score of 2.9 or lower indicates a negative response
A score of 3.0 is neutral
2.0
3.0
9.0
8.0
4.0
1.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Average
Score
I received a structured induction
2.0
4.0
3.0
4.0
1.0
2.0
4.0
4.0
5.0
3.2
My particular learning needs
were assessed at the start and I
had an individual training plan
1.0
3.0
1.0
2.0
1.0
3.0
1.0
3.0
4.0
2.1
I was able to keep to the training
plan
2.0
1.0
1.0
2.0
4.0
3.0
5.0
3.0
5.0
2.9
I had a mentor who performed
their role well
1.0
2.0
3.0
3.0
1.0
4.0
2.0
5.0
5.0
2.9
I was offered a learning set that I
regularly attended and benefited
from
3.0
1.0
5.0
3.0
5.0
5.0
3.0
5.0
5.0
3.9
I received regular supervision
that was of high quality
3.0
5.0
2.0
4.0
5.0
3.0
4.0
4.0
5.0
3.9
I had ½ day each week as
protected learning time
1.0
1.0
2.0
2.0
1.0
2.0
4.0
1.0
3.0
1.9
I completed my learning log
1.0
1.0
5.0
3.0
5.0
2.0
5.0
3.0
4.0
3.2
Overall I am satisfied that my
NQSW year improved my skills
and confidence
2.0
1.0
3.0
3.0
4.0
4.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
4.4
I intend to remain working at my
present authority
4.0
5.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
4.4
I trust my authority to continue to
provide opportunities that help
develop my career
4.0
3.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
4.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
3.9
3.0
5.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
4.0
3.0
3.8
2.3
2.7
3.0
3.2
3.3
3.3
3.5
3.8
4.5
I want to work in front-line
services
Average Score
The experience of NQSWs varies greatly; some had a very positive experience others did not. In
some cases the experiences vary greatly within boroughs which would indicate that the level of
satisfaction with the programme is dependant on how much individual NQSWs engaged with the
support available as well as the opportunities they were afforded within the team and within the
programme.
For this programme to work it is essential that the team managers are briefed understand the
programme and are able to support the NQSW in their team.
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West London NQSW Programme Review
Positives
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All of the NQSWs questioned plan to stay working within their local authority and within a frontline team
77% of NQSWs questioned were satisfied that the programme had improved their skills and
confidence
100% of NQSWs questioned felt that they could trust their authority to provide career
development opportunities
88% of NQSWs regularly attended the learning set; some NQSWs did not feel able to prioritise
these sessions
Areas for Improvement
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55% of NQSWs questioned did not feel that their learning needs were assessed and that they
had an individual training plan.
77% of NQSWs questioned did not feel that they had half a day each week protected learning
time. (Many may not have realised that CPD opportunities and the learning sets contributed to
this time)
55% of NQSWs reported that they had completed their learning log
Related Comments
As well as scoring the various aspects of the programme those questioned were also able to
comment on their individual experiences. The table below gives a summary of these comments.
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I received a structured induction
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My particular learning needs were
assessed at the start and I had an
individual training plan
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I was an EBR student
Initial meeting to give an overview of the programme
did not happen
No structured induction, I was given a list of people
to call
No induction or introduction to the scheme, I was
given a handbook to complete
Yes – the induction was flexible which was good
Yes – my manager took a real interest
I was already very familiar with the borough
This has varied from team to team, mine was semistructured
Were discussed but not really addressed
Didn’t happen x2
No real assessment of my needs
No one has spoken to me about this, I requested to
do the ABE training, no one seems to care about my
needs
My needs weren’t assessed but I was given a
training guide
I did not feel these were necessary as I am aware of
my needs
Not until recently
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West London NQSW Programme Review
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I was able to keep to the training
plan
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I had a mentor who performed their
role well
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I was offered a learning set that I
regularly attended and benefited
from
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I received regular supervision that
was of high quality
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I had ½ day each week as protected
learning time
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I found it difficult to attend the ALS due to workload
I was able to choose what courses to attend but
have no assessment of my needs
This was down to me, there was little flexibility
around casework
I couldn’t attend everything due to work demands
Yes – thanks to my manager
This has become part of my appraisal
My mentor was experienced
I didn’t have an identified mentor x 2
My team manager has been fantastic and I have
had good supervision and support from senior
practitioners
No identified mentor but I had a manager and ALS
facilitator
My mentor was within the team which I did not find
helpful, I do not think this should be someone you
see every day
I had no mentor but received useful advice and
support from my colleagues
I had a willing mentor but she didn’t have much
guidance
ALS offered the only opportunity for discussion and
reflection
Attended as much as possible, peer support from
other NQSWs was the main benefit
I attended 1 “peer” session – my caseload was too
high
I attended because I had to but didn’t feel these
benefitted me
I found these stressful as they were only focussed
on critical reflection and not so much on our
experiences
I attended but found them frustrating because I
would have preferred to be learning through practice
Excellent – I can see and apply to my cases
Group NQSW supervision was good quality, other
supervision was case focussed
Receive high quality supervision when I have it –
don’t have it often enough
I have had good supervisors
Yes – because of my manager, I do not connect this
to the NQSW programme
I had regular opportunities to speak to my team
manager
Yes – my manager kept up to date with the sessions
My line manager provided excellent supervision
I have had 3 team managers and the quality of
supervision has varied greatly
No time set aside, had to identify for myself
No time set aside x2
I was an experienced SW from the USA, it didn’t
make sense to put me on this programme
No time set aside, I was too busy
I had the time but found it hard to manage with all of
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West London NQSW Programme Review
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I completed my learning log
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Overall I am satisfied that my
NQSW year improved my skills and
confidence
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I intend to remain working at my
present authority
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I trust my authority to continue to
provide opportunities that help
develop my career
I want to work in front-line services
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my cases
I found it easier to take a day out ever fortnight
This time was provided but was very hard to take
time out with due to the unpredictable nature of
social work
When I moved teams I received this
Is a struggle with the caseload
I haven’t completed this
Nearly finished x2
Haven’t opened or completed this
I can reflect on what I have done and how much I
have progressed
Yes but I found this irritatingly dull and stressful to
complete
Yes- I did benefit from this and enjoyed being able
to indulge in being reflective
Agree, my skills and confidence have improved
As an NQSW I was given complex cases and do not
feel that I was supported enough
I don’t recognise myself as an NQSW
Yes but not because of the NQSW programme
I’m still learning as I go, we have supported each
other as a group
Definitely
I feel I have learnt through practice and on-going
experience
I am satisfied that over the last year I have improved
my skills and confidence but do not equate this to
the NQSW programme
I’ll be around for the next couple of years
I enjoy the job I do
I would love to
I enjoy the work and like my colleagues
I have no plans to move but am not sure how long I
can stay
I trust my manager
Depends on who your manager is, they listen to me
in supervision
I have learnt a lot from my manager and team
The training is good and I have good managers to
guide me
Most definitely
I do not understand what the future holds with the
cuts and SWRB
Very much so
There are positives and negatives
For the time being
I have no plans to leave
I’m open to working in whatever team I am needed
in
I still enjoy what I do but there is a lot of paperwork
Currently yes – I’m not sure I could do this forever
O love it but don’t think I can do this forever
Additional comments
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West London NQSW Programme Review
Learning Sets
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The learning sets were brilliant and I am using the skills I have learnt from this on a daily basis
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I value the learning sets which have afforded the only resource mostly for reflective learning.
However due to the inconsistencies of attendees, it has been a struggle to maintain the rhythm
of reflection and learning.
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NQSW sessions went well. Nice getting to know other colleagues and you can be yourself with
them in a different way, than in the team. The facilitators were full of knowledge and wisdom,
good fun, we could let our hair down, and we even had cakes sometimes. It would have been
more beneficial if I could have started as an NQSW in the group and with the support as soon
as I started in the post.
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The sessions didn’t seem to be able to flow as a group. I thought the NQSWs would start as a
tight group and progress to together. But the attendance of the facilitated session was often
poor.
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The critical reflection sessions we had were well presented however I felt it would be more
beneficial to look at different models to allow NQSWs to choose what works best for them.
Support
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There is a need to protect NQSWs. It isn’t fair to use an experienced NQSW and give them
cases and use their skills because you know that they can cope. More support from a mentor
and/or offsite supervision is required and having someone to facilitate this. The programme
should give everyone the same experience – some have had much better experiences. Team
managers should support us collectively and assist us to get to the learning sets, often cases
were prioritised over attending sessions.
Overseas Workers
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You need to look at who you are sending on this course. I would have benefited more from
court skills as the legal system in the USA is completely different. Overseas workers need a
higher level of training than the NQSW programme can deliver.
Overall Programme
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I think the NQSW programme is important and it is very scary for a newly qualified to undertake
this work. I think NQSWs should have a consultation about how this programme can be
improved and restructured. For example, on a day to day basis I am making referrals to mental
health teams (CAMHs). It would have been really good to have had a presentation from this
service about their thresholds and expectations, instead of us blindly making referrals.
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I think the programme should be made more individualistic, not a generic programme with
training tailored to the individual and the team in which they are based. There was some
training that I really wanted to undertake and I felt that no one took an interest in my request.
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I don’t think it was a consistent experience across the board. My success is really down to a
good, strong, focussed manager for which I am grateful.
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West London NQSW Programme Review
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The training on offer was generally of a good standard. The court skills / legal training in
particular were excellent and should be standard for all NQSWs.
Learning Set Facilitator Comments
Each learning set was facilitated by two senior practitioners or team managers from within the
borough. This group were trained and supported by Jan Fook over the course of the year. In their
final session they reflected on the success of using this model in working with the NQSWs:
What Stood Out?
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It was useful to have a facilitator who understood the model and was able to commit to the
group
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It offered the group time in a supportive environment to peel back the layers of a critical
incident, gain understanding and move forward
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How powerful the right question can be
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There is a need to reassure NQSWs about their role and ensure that they are nurtured and
supported at the beginning
What Have we Learnt?
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It was important to have the same facilitator
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How to run these sessions and how valuable they are
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Facilitators need to have someone to “de-brief” to
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The sessions need to be varied, but structured with an element of teaching and reflection
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The sessions need to strike a balance between reflection and directive / challenging content
theme related
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The majority of NQSWs were really keen to attend, it was a surprise how quickly they bonded
as a group
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Some NQSWs were more willing to participate than others
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These sessions were really beneficial for the NQSWs
What Needs to Change?
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Team managers need to understand the importance of the model and how it can improve
practice
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Facilitators need to have a better understanding of the overall NQSW programme
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All social workers should have access to this style of learning set regularly
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West London NQSW Programme Review
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It would be great to offer these sessions within my team
Conclusion
“The best thing you can possibly offer an NQSW is practical advice
they can use on how best undertake various aspects of the job. As
NQSWs this is the one thing we lack and by being given it, confidence
is increased and children are better protected.”
All of the NQSWs who took part in this evaluation plan to stay working their borough in which they
based and working in a front-line team in the short term. Team managers are key to the success of
this programme and the ability of NQSWs to fully benefit from the programme on offer. Looking to
the future we need to consider:
1. How to ensure that NQSWs have a structured induction period
2. How to ensure that NQSWs have an individual training plan, this activity may be best
undertaken by the learning and development team
3. How to ensure that the NQSWs complete their learning log but do not feel that this is a time
consuming task
4. How to ensure that NQSWs are able to prioritise attending the learning sets
5. The role of a mentor and who is best suited to undertake this role
6. The make up of the learning sets with time set aside to discuss practice issues
7. How to ensure that NQSWs receive the equivalent of half a day a week or 24 days protected
time for learning
NQSWs are individuals with different needs and this has been reflected within the feedback
received. The experience of the group has varied greatly and the next steps will be to consider the
information and decide how to improve the programme for future NQSWs.
KM 17.03.2011
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